6 ways to boost employee energy

Balanced energy is vital for high performing employees.

Food, water, sleep, breathing, physical activity and relaxation all contribute to your level of energy.

Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 in each of the following areas, where 1 is low and 10 is high. Then check out these six ways to boost your energy and inspire your team to do the same.

  • Food – do you enjoy a balanced nutritious diet?
  • Water – are you well hydrated?
  • Sleep – do you experience restful sleep and wake up with good energy?
  • Breathing – do you breathe easily, steadily and deeply?
  • Physical activity – do you have good stamina, flexibility and strength?
  • Relaxation – do you manage stress well and find time to chill out on a daily basis?

1. Fuel your body

Your body needs energy in the form of calories to function efficiently. The better the quality of nutrition going in, the better you can expect to perform. Make small, simple changes to your diet to increase its energy-giving potential. Swap white bread for wholemeal, white rice for brown rice, experiment with recipes that include beans and lentils, cut back on caffeine and alcohol, increase your intake of healthy fats (oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds) , and aim for half of your dinner plate to be filled with vegetables. Take it slowly and introduce one new healthy eating habit each week.

Get more energy with The Source.

2. Drink up

Water is the main component of blood and is essential for carrying nutrients to the cells and taking away waste products. If your body is short on fluids, one of the first signs is a feeling of fatigue. In addition, thirst can often masquerade as hunger and have you reaching for a sugary pick-me-up when actually what you needed was water. Keep a bottle of water on your desk and sip regularly throughout the day. And remember, herbals teas and natural fruit juices also contribute healthily to your total fluid intake.

Take a water bottle with you on your commute.

3. Get some Zzzzzs

Sleep is the time when the body can rejuvenate and recharge. If getting the recommended 8 hours shut-eye per night is a challenge, make the time to create the right conditions for sleep. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before sleep as these can disrupt your sleep patterns, switch off the TV and computer an hour or so before you want to sleep and instead read a book – something calming and not too racy or exciting, so that your mind has chance to slow down.

Having trouble falling asleep try Paul McKenna’s sleep aids.

Then, wake up the natural way with a wake-up light.

4. Breathe in, breathe out

It’s easy to take breathing for granted, but the quality of your breath can have a massive effect on your health. You’ll have noticed that when you’re anxious or stressed your breathing quickens, becomes shallow, and is often happening high up in your chest area. This reduces the amount of oxygen in your body and depletes your energy. To help bring more depth to your breath try this technique…

  • Place one hand flat on your chest.
  • Place one hand flat on your abdomen.
  • As you breathe, observe the movement of your hands.
  • Are both hands moving? If only the hand on your chest is moving, then you are most likely shallow breathing.
  • As you take your next deep breath, concentrate on making the hand on the abdomen be the one that rises up.
  • Take a deep breath in through your nose, then breathe out slowly, gently blowing the air between your barely opened lips.

For more on vitality and good health through breath work read Donna Farhi’s ‘The Breathing Book’.

5. Move more

Physical activity is one of the most efficient methods of generating energy. We’re designed to move. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean hardcore exercise. In fact, such an extreme workout may be counter-productive. 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise at least 3 days a week is a good amount to aim for – think of brisk walking, swimming, cycling, jogging, and add in some strength-training with light weights. Consider how you can incorporate more movement into your day – can you cycle to work, can you take the stairs instead of the lift, can you pop out for a 15 minute walk after lunch or dinner?

There are loads of fitness DVDs out there but my favourites are by Davina McCall. Fun workouts that are still a challenge to seasoned exercisers and yet manageable to those just starting out.

6. Chill out

Stress management and relaxation aren’t just nice things to do, they’re vital for your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Build some ‘chill time’ into your everyday life – even if it’s just 5 minutes a day. Make a list of the things that you enjoy doing and that give you energy and then start incorporating these things into your daily and weekly routine. Life happens now, so make the moments count.

Jack Kornfield offers meditation books and audio products that provide a relaxing way to balance the stresses of life. I particularly like his Meditation for Beginners.

Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey provide free 21-day meditation experiences several times a year. Check them out and chill out.

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